Cash or Credit?

I am here today to discuss a subject near and dear to my heart.  I am referring, of course, to money.  Money is the ultimate frenemy.  You like it, maybe you even love it, but boy do you hate it.  It can turn on you in an instant, without warning.  You know this, and that is why you and money have never been BFFs, even though secretly you hope that, maybe in another life, money would be a little nicer to you and not say those things about you behind your back.  My point is, let’s talk about money.

Specifically, I would like to discuss an interesting phenomenon here in New York.  When I lived in Baltimore, I never carried cash.  I hated cash.  Cash was inconvenient.  Cash was germy and smelly.  Cash made my wallet too fat to close.  Cash had pictures of presidents on it with little moustaches drawn on.  It was rare for me to even have a dollar on my person.  Why?  Because you didn’t need it.  Everyone took my debit card.  I can’t think of a restaurant or shop that didn’t take credit or debit.  If such a shop existed, it would quickly go out of business, because no one would be able to pay for their stuff.  It’s so much easier to carry one or two cards and pay for everything that way.

In Manhattan, just the opposite is true.  Nobody will take my card.  Everything is cash only here.  It’s ridiculous!  I’ve walked out of several places in a huff when I was told they only took cash money.  ‘Hmph!’ I thought to myself, ‘They will be out of business soon and then I will stand over their boarded up grave and laugh!’  But then I went to places that did take my card, and noticed something else.  Everyone was paying with cash anyway!  People in New York carry cash around with them!  No wonder everyone is getting mugged!  I went into one place, specifically because they had a Visa sticker on their window, and when I handed them my card I got a dirty look.  Then the guy suddenly stopped speaking English and handed my card to his manager.  I got another dirty look, and then he took my card, after adding a $1.00 fee for using a card (without asking me, by the way) and kept asking me if I was sure I really didn’t have any cash on me.  Oh, silly me!  My shoe appears to be filled with $20 bills!  How could I have not noticed this before now?!

So I have no idea what the moral of this story is, other than, if you come to New York, bring giant wads of cash stuffed all over your person, and if you go to Baltimore, only stuff yourself with cash wads if you are planning on visiting a hot dog cart.  I guess it just goes to show how culturally different the various parts of our country still are, even with a McDonalds and a Starbucks on every corner.  At least those guys will take my card.

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